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Remove digital distractions to improve life, relationships

Some tout fewer devices, better relationships

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Posted: Monday, August 26, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 5:27 am, Mon Aug 26, 2013.

Cellphones continue to get better, with an ever growing list of functions.

Most people can't conceive of leaving the house without their phones, a product of how important the devices have become in our society.

It's no doubt that cellphones have made life easier. But have they made life better?

Tasso Roumeliotis, CEO of Location Labs, a mobile device management and location-based technologies company, provided some potential problems, and solutions, that cellphone use can have.

* For those with teenagers, you get to navigate the cellphone waters together. The constantly changing technology means there always are things to learn and do with your phone.

Like most of your children's good/bad habits, they are looking to you for guidance on something you might not totally understand.

Roumeliotis says that he takes digital breaks so that he can focus on tasks going on in his life. This lowers multitasking, which is a cause of lower productivity.

When getting your children to follow this path, Roumeliotis said that he tells his kids, "I do this (taking phone breaks), you should do this too."

* Cellphones are a big distraction. The dangers of texting and driving are obvious; you are taking your focus off of the road.

But a study by Ohio State University found that 1,500 people in 2010 were treated for injuries sustained simply by walking and talking on the phone.

* This distraction doesn't just result in physical injuries either.

A University of Essex study found that the presence of mobile communication caused negative effects on closeness, connection and conversation between people when face-to-face.

Phones can impact the relationships you make and have with people in your life.

Roumeliotis said that he tells his wife that he is shutting his phone off so they can spend time together.

Roumeliotis doesn't just turn his phone off either: "Make a barrier between you and technology so that there's no willpower issue. Don't just put it away, put it somewhere hard to get."

Roumeliotis said making this physical obstacle to your phone shows your partner that he or she is the most important thing. Roumeliotis said that people want to be loved, needed and wanted and that, "a mobile device is a strong conflict to that."

* It's important to control your phone use because if you're not careful, you can become addicted.

In a process that is similar to gambling, occasionally something good will come across your phone. Roumeliotis said that this causes an endorphin rush when your phone goes off.

"The human mind cannot resist checking it," Roumeliotis said, "Willpower is a very hard thing to overcome."

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